Of Castles, Weddings and Fairies…

Of Castles, Weddings and Fairies…

‘Tis time! ‘Tis time!
They gleefully cried
And the medieval muses 
rushed to my side…

Gather round my friends
and ye shall hear
Of Melissa’s adventures
Both far and near

Of enchanted castles
And storybook tales
of mystical fairies
And love that never fails…

I couldn’t resist the storybook poetic beginning. England just seems to bring it out of me. I think Shakespeare would have been proud, don’t you?  Ha!

I’m finally getting around to writing about some of my other adventures in my brief sojourn to Brockenhurst.  This time we visit a country manor (a castle in my opinion), stumble upon a fairy tale wedding, and I even captured a photo of a fairy!  (It looks like one to me anyway.)

20191108_122236_HDROn a cool, rainy November day, I visited nearby Rhinefield House. Driving up a one lane road, the stunning scenery was lined with ancient oak trees in their prime of autumn colors.  Then the car turned the corner and the castle came into view.  Catching my breath, I just uttered “Wow!” This old castle turned hotel was the epitome of elegance and refinement with years of history around every corner.

Though it was closed when I visited, the Alhambra Room is an artistic masterpiece and the story goes that a woman had it built for her husband as a smoking room.  She wanted him to be able to smoke in luxury.  I think she achieved her aim, don’t you?  (Ah the whims of the wildly wealthy…)RHI-Alhambra

Of course, such a place is a magnet for weddings and there was one in preparation the day I visited.  I peeked in the medieval banquet hall to take a photo and was stunned by the wedding cake in the opposite corner.  No that’s not a fake photo…the cake was about 10 feet tall.  I’m only in the picture so you can judge by my height ( a mere 5’4).  Complete with waterfall, I decided that it must have belonged to a fairytale princess.  It just seemed like it should belong to royalty.  In fact, the whole room seemed to have an enchanted glow about it as I gazed on it from above.  

The wedding cake 20191108_120940_HDR

From the grand interior, I exited to silently stroll around the considerable and beautiful grounds…fountains, ponds, autumn arbors and open vistas graced every turn.

20191108_122225_HDRFountainsArbor at Rhinefield

Even an old, hidden door beckoned one to secrets that lay beyond…


But time was waning and the secrets of the old castle would have to wait for another day.  Perhaps someday I will return…only destiny knows, but with so much country left to explore, it will likely be just another memory tucked away into my love affair with England.

And what of fairies?  On a cold, early Sunday morning as I was making my way across the fields towards the train station, I stopped in awe as the sunrise seemed to catch the light of every dewdrop and turned the whole glittering scene into a magical panorama.  I had to take several pictures.

While going back through them, I found something I had not seen when I took the photo.  If you look on the path, you will notice a small blue light.  To me, it looked just like a blue fairy.  Had I just stumbled upon her as she was finishing her morning rounds of painting each blade of grass with dew?  Who knows?  Choose to believe what you will, but while visiting England, magic found me and with it, I found childlike wonder in the every day.

So closes this 2nd chapter of my adventures in Brockenhurst.  Will there be more?  Yes, for the muses tell me there must be.  The magic must be shared… 🙂

The Blue Fairy


‘Tis All Hallows Eve!

‘Tis All Hallows Eve!

For my next installment of adventures here in England, I of course had to make it Halloween themed!  With a couple of visits to the nearby old churches and graveyards, I found spooky gravestones and eerie feelings and yes…even a ghost story!

75252917_2620795168040893_3063494593350729728_oThis is the story of two old English churches and their graveyards.  On a quick tour provided by my lovely elfin innkeeper, Sue, I was shown two sites that weren’t normally frequented by visitors.  The first was a church which had been standing since approximately 1200 A.D.

Sue told me how spiritual it was to sit or stand with your back against the 1000 year old Yew tree and survey the area. She said there was some connection to the old Yew tree and the ancient roots (roots…get it? haha!) of the area.



One of the interesting stories of this graveyard was a group of soldiers from New Zealand who came to this church and to Brockenhurst to recover from their wounds in WWI.  Oddly enough, they all died here…



Onto the next graveyard…with it’s headstones all laid out nicely in a row.  Sue had told me that there was something about this graveyard that was different.  It had a different… feeling.  As I began to wander, I felt nothing, just the same fascination of history and mystery as before.

73413151_392697861616682_5251473409220542464_n Until I reached here…

Oddly enough, right in this spot, I felt a knot in my stomach.  I couldn’t explain it.  Everywhere else I had felt just fine and all of a sudden…something just not quite right.  Here’s the eerie part: Sue told me that she had brought someone else there to tour the church and graveyard and they had the same feeling in the exact same spot!!  Now that’s CREEPY!!  And here’s the weird thing…those two grave markers you see in the picture?  One of the former Reverends and his wife.  Ummmm…take from that what you will.  Hmmm….


I close my creepy post with the following two gravestones:  now who would have a skeleton head with a raven on top carved into a gravestone?  (Edgar Allen Poe maybe?) That’s just…weird.  And the other one I thought was beautiful…in a creepy way.  haha!  And so my children…ghost story hour is now closed for another year…


Falling Into Fairyland

Falling Into Fairyland

(All photos were taken by me – Brockenhurst, England) 

Broad Oak - Old FashionedI do believe I have stumbled into an enchanted realm. My latest adventure has found me staying for a month in Brockenhurst, England in a charming Bed & Breakfast that can only be described as something out of a fairy-tale. Magic has been found.  Boring realities have seemed to disappear for a time.  Instead I have found ponies wandering the moors, secret forest paths, owls calling in the middle of the night, fairy lights, and yes…even a unicorn.

Gather round and ye shall hear of faire Melissa’s adventure in enchanted realm yonder…oh I’m sorry, did I just wander off into Old English?  I seem to find myself doing that here.  (Ha!)

Well, it began when I stepped off the train in Brockenhurst.  Awaiting my ride, I heard my name being called and then an older woman dressed in a flowing scarlet scarf with long silver hair came flying around the corner.  She looked somewhat like a harried elf who seemed to be out of place at the train station.  She belonged in the forest with the other magical folk.  This lovely elf turned out to be the owner of the B&B.  Sue (such a prosaic name for an elf) picked me up and proceeded to give me detailed instructions on how to find my way around this little village out of time.

Broad Oak B&BWhen we arrived at Broad Oak, I looked up at the charming old house and was drawn to the dormer attic window.  No surprise that it turned out to be The Enchanted Garden room where I am staying the month.

I soon met the other elf in residence, Michael, Sue’s husband. He was so very gnome-like with his white, curly hair and mischievous grin.  This couple simply had to be elves taking on human form – the resemblance was uncanny.

20191023_220548_HDR.jpgUpon settling in, I discovered that the room was as whimsical as the name.  Fairies hiding in plants, birds flying across the ceiling and vines growing over the walls.  Little lights in the cutest of places and of course, the dormer window thrown wide to let the fresh air of the forest into the room.

I leaned out the window to look at the large, ancient oak spreading it’s branches over the entrance to the road and I began to feel different…more alive.  I slept deeply that night and the next morning, as I awoke in my very soft bed, I felt bubbly and excited.


What new adventures awaited me?  Was I Cinderella waking to birdsong in her attic and sunlight pouring through a skylight? Was I a princess awaiting her prince high in the Tower of her castle? (Well, a middle-aged, slightly grey-haired and chubby princess…haha!)  Whatever it was, the enchantment of this place seemed to be working its magic on me.

Even on a walk just around the “neighborhood”, I found a mesmerizing secret path covered in arching tree branches and vines.

Secret paths

A moor that spread off into the distant mist…The Moors


The unicorn


And yes…a unicorn!  As you can see by the pictures, the unicorn (disguised as a New Forest pony) looked up at me as I stopped to look at him off in the distance.  I tried to get pictures of him without scaring him off and so tiptoed closer.


The Unicorn PosesAs I was taking my pictures, an acorn from a large oak dropped on my head!  I laughed and looked up. Had a forest fairy just dropped the acorn on my head to remind me of the time?  I turned back towards the main path and as I did so, the unicorn must have decided I was a kindred spirit and came to me! It even posed for me as I took a picture!  (Of course, unicorns will do this when they know you are a friend to the enchanted folk.)  I reached out and patted his nose as a thank you and made my way back to the beautiful fairy house in the woods.

I have learned a new lesson…fairylands, magic, mysteries and romance are simply a state of mind.  They are as real as you want them to be.  The other night as I was strolling the streets of London, I realized I was lost (as tend to happens there) and wondered if I could find my way back to my hotel.  Then I swear I heard my mother’s voice speaking to me in my mind, “Follow your heart and the magic will find you.” She was right…it has and continues to do so.

Was it her that shared that piece of wisdom with me?  Why not?  How is that any less magical and miraculous than the everyday fairyland I have wandered into?  ‘Tis not, I say! Thus closes Chapter 1 of faire Melissa’s adventures in Broad Oak.  Will there be more?  We must await and see what fate holds!

Mid Autumn Night’s Dream

Mid Autumn Night’s Dream

I must tread softly…
For they do not come
As in times past
When my innocent eyes
Could see the lights
Dancing and beckoning
And I could hear
Merry music laughing

These days I must wait
In the softening twilight
For the prosaic realities of day
To melt away…
And the curtain of willows
to rise on the merriment

Under the colorful canopy
Of Autumn hues
They come in golden auras
Feather light with silver songs
Singing and swaying
To the silent music
Only they hear…

They see me and beckon…
Delicate and delighted we dance
Finding a fairy’s fantasy
In a forlorn reality
Ancient ruins and timeworn walls
We are holding on…
To the bygone magic of yesteryear

I am alive…I am new again
As the frustrations of my soul
are released to the air
To dance to Shakespeare’s ethereal lyre
Of this Mid Autumn night’s dream…

Sweet September


Distant shores are calling…
 I find myself in the car heading north
Ending in an evening ramble
In the Northern wild forests  
My soul soars as I leave behind
the chains of an invisible prison.

Are the distant pines on fire?
No…the fiery, orange Harvest moon rises,
blazing triumphantly over the fading landscape.
I pull my jacket a little tighter 
As the heat of the day succumbs 
to the fresh, sweet night air.

It’s 2 am now…the silence here is profound.
No cars, no crickets, no birds…
No other sounds than the distant call of an elk…
Its mournful cry a story of nature primeval.
I had forgotten how silent nature can be.
It’s just me and the moon and the wind…
and oh how bewitching it is!

A part of me remembers this…the silence
Childhood adventures climbing
Over amber-colored hill tops
Dreaming of castles in the air…
When the silence permeated my soul
Like music in the wind.

My life has come full circle
And the little me still sees
Hope on the horizon of my life…
Some dreams fulfilled, some yet to be…
As sweet September turns another page
I stand still…
This perfect moment soon to be
Another memory in the book of my life.

(Some favorite pictures of my recent road trip to Idaho and Yellowstone.)


Guardian of the Silence

Guardian of the Silence

Dark, majestic, somber pines…citadels of the night.
She weaves in and out of them draped in white,
Both human and spirit in this other worldly moment
She is at one with the secret of the trees.

The crescent moon softens the darkness,
Just enough light to illuminate the path.
As one solitary owl calls for it’s mate,
Ancient stones and fairy lights accompany the dance.

She is seeking impossible answers
Revealing her veiled secrets to the breathless air
She is the guardian of her silence
Only the moon witnesses the whisper of her prayer.

Just one more turn before the chill sets in
Just one more moment to wistfully dream
One more moment to rescue the innocence within
Before the reality of life chains her spirit yet again.

woman-in-forest-with-white-dress (2)
You can find this photo here: lovinglifeonearth.wordpress.com.


Reflective Rain

woman looking out rainy window (2)The steady drip
of the cooling rain
Drums counting beats
in reflective refrain
What journey do I take?
What road do I run?
When the green turns amber
And the days become one?
When everything just is
And nothing becomes
When the heart deeply yearns
Yet the fields still burn
When time ticks on
And I am frozen in place
For the break of the rain
to begin counting drumbeats
in my head yet again…